I must admit that for me, “love is selfless” has been the most difficult aspect of this verse, thus far.
Our verse says:
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (NASB)
Love does not seek its own. As I have reflected on this verse, God has been teaching me what it means to be truly selfless and not seek my own.
As I mom, I do lots of things for my kids that seem selfless. My girls are still babies, so they have lots of things that they can't do on their own. So helping them is not an option. The act of being selfless, therefore, isn't an option. However, the mindset of being selfless is still completely optional.
When I sacrifice for my girls and other people, when I put their needs and wants ahead of mine, I am obeying the part of this that asks for an act of selflessness, but that doesn't mean I am loving them well. If I am truly loving someone selflessly, I don't need recognition for my sacrifice. I don't need a pat on the back or praise in return. To love someone selflessly, means I don't expect ANYTHING in return. It is not an “I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine” relationship. It is simply putting others needs ahead of your own.
This is the part of love that has been difficult for me. I am great at putting others first, AS LONG AS, someone else puts me first once in a while. How about you?
God has been teaching me over the past week that to love selflessly, I must love without the expectation that I will be rewarded for my efforts.
Will I love someone selflessly who takes advantage of me?
Will I continue to love someone unselfishly who never “returns the favor”?
Will I seek out opportunities to share how selfless I am with others (pride)? Or will I choose to let my obedience to God be my reward?
These are all questions I have sought to answer in the past week. I encourage you to wrestle through these questions this week and see what God teaches you about being selfless.
As we talked about this phrase in church last week, the pastor posed this question, “Do you trust that God will take care of everything you need?”
If we do, then we can live selflessly knowing that Jesus Christ will provide more than enough strength, energy, and love to live out His Word. He will meet not only our physical and financial needs, but our emotional needs as well.
So what do you think? Is it easy to be selfless? How can the sacrifice Jesus made for you on the cross encourage or inspire you in loving selflessly?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!